The Eagles lost 32-14 to the Bengals to fall to 5-7 and drop their third straight game.
This was easily Wentz’s worst game of the season. He made bad passes early, bad passes late, and bad passes in between. He’s got absolutely no help from his supporting cast, and it’s forcing him to carry an entire team, but his mistakes were on him. He’s back to sailing passes, something he did in training camp but then seemingly fixed when the season started. Over the past three weeks, they’ve returned, and they burned him badly against the Bengals. He also had about half his incompletions get batted at the line of scrimmage by Carlos Dunlap, who came into the game batting a pass a game on average. Wentz had blinders on the whole game.
Just as this was Wentz’s worst game, it was Pederson’s worst as a playcaller.
Pederson has talked about running the ball more to help Carson Wentz, and he didn’t. The Eagles had just 19 rushing attempts, three of them were by Wentz and one was a botched play by Wentz where he handed it off to Wendell Smallwood, meaning that Pederson called just 15 runs to 63 passes. Smallwood had 8 rushing attempts, all were in the first half. A 19-0 halftime deficit forced the Eagles hand into a pass heavy second half, but the first half they got away from the supposed game plan, and have been for weeks. When you’re a willingly pass happy offense with a rookie QB and bad WRs, you put your team in a position to fail.
Carson Wentz’s first six games: 185 pass attempts— Adam Hermann (@adamwhermann) December 4, 2016
Carson Wentz’s last six games: 267 pass attempts
In back-to-back games the Eagles have been a team in need of a win and faced a team with its back against the wall. In both games, they looked like a team going through the motions.
Some of that is on the coaches. It’s not Pederson’s fault his QB has no one to throw to, no one to hand the ball of to, a rotating offensive line combination, and a secondary that is getting roasted as the season progresses. But it’s his job to get his players ready to play, and they have come out flat for two weeks straight.
In fairness to Pederson, this isn’t a unique occurrence. After his first season, Andy Reid cut veterans who were contributing to a negative or non-accountable locker room, and the next year the Eagles, for a number of reasons, made the playoffs. It takes more than one offseason to flush out a team. Year one of a head coach can be deceptive, both in the positive and the negative. If this is still an issue next year, then it’s a big concern. For now, calls to fire Doug Pederson are premature. Teams with no plan fire coaches after one year.
Some of it is on the players themselves, coaches aren’t the only ones accountable for the players actions. Zach Ertz has broken approximately three tackles in his entire career. Dorial Green-Beckham has the size and strength to out-muscle cornerbacks but rarely does. The numerous false starts by the offensive line are deflating drive killers. Players need to be held accountable for those just as much if not more than the coaches.
Paul Turner now has more receptions and yards in this game than Nelson Agholor has in any game in his career.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) December 4, 2016
The Eagles defense was supposed to be a strength, and the strength of it was supposed to be the pass rush. For most of the season, it was. But not lately. Over the last six games the Eagles have just four sacks. Vinny Curry and Connor Barwin are non-factors, and while Fletcher Cox has gotten criticism he doesn’t deserve, he’s been a disappointment, we were expecting a monster season from him that hasn’t materialized.
Teams are taking advantage of the secondary, either by gutting the Eagles defense with quick passes because they won’t press, or by beating them deep because the Eagles corners can’t run with them. After giving up less than 275 passing in their first 9 games, the Eagles have given up 287, 313 and 332 passing yards in successive weeks.
The Eagles run defense has been strong since Bennie Logan returned, but that matters little when teams are passing on the Eagles with ease. Andy Dalton’s 332 yards was the 10th best of his career, his 10.7 yards per attempt was his 11th best, and he was missing AJ Green. Brandon LaFell, who started 20 games for the Patriots, had the 8th most receiving yards of his career. What was a strength has been a liability.
They’re done. 144 days until the draft.